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Anomaly Scan Information

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Q. How is Ultrasound used?
A. Ultrasound is the use of high frequency sound waves to produce an image.

Q. How safe is Ultrasound?
A. Diagnostic Ultrasound has been used widely in clinical medicine for many years with no proven harmful effects.

Q. Who does the scan?
A. Scans are performed by specially trained staff called Sonographers.

Q. What is an Anomaly Scan?
A. The main purpose of the scan is to check the anatomy of your baby. We closely examine the major organs and structures of the baby to see if they have developed normally. Measurements of the head, abdomen and thigh bone are taken to confirm the baby is growing normally. It is possible to detect many abnormalities, but not all.

Q. When is the scan performed?
A. This scan will be performed between 18 – 20 +6d weeks ideally.

Q. Is any preparation necessary?
A. Please arrive with a comfortably full bladder. You will also need to bring you pregnancy health book / notes with you.

Q. How is the scan performed?
A. Warm gel is spread over your tummy. The Sonographer moves the probe over your tummy to look at the baby from different angles. The scan will take about 30 minutes to perform, longer for twins and triplets. The room will be quite dark to allow the images to be seen on the TV screen and the sonographer will be quiet whilst she concentrates and undertakes the scan measurements. Once the measurements have been recorded the sonographer will show you your baby on the TV screen and explain what you are looking at.

Q. What can affect the quality of the image on the screen?
A. Occasionally the picture quality is poor, this may be due to the position of the baby, your bladder not being full enough or your size. Sometime the baby’s position makes it difficult to complete all the checks in one go. In these situations, you may need to have a repeat scan on the same day, or we may ask you to come back another day.

Q. What are the limitations of the scan?
A. Some structural defects such as Spina Bifida, hydrocephalus (excess water on the brain), limb deformities, can usually be seen. Other abnormalities are harder to detect, for example, less than half of all heart defects will be seen. It is important to remember that all these problems are rare. It is very important to understand that  Ultrasound scanning does not reveal every abnormality and there are many conditions that cannot be diagnosed in this way.

Q. What happens if the anatomical checks are not completed?
A. The Sonographer will usually repeat the scan the same day or if necessary ask you to come back in 2 weeks. Sometimes the checks will still not be complete. If this happens the report will record information about the structures that were not adequately seen on either scan.

Q. What if a problem is found?
A. Most babies are normal and healthy and most parents find the experience enjoyable and informative. However, if a problem is suspected, the person doing the scan may seek a second opinion from another Sonographer or Specialist Obstetrician. You may also be offered counselling from a Specialist Midwife.

Q. Who can come with me to my anomaly scan?
A. We welcome one adult only into the scan room to support you. This can be your partner, friend or other relative. Please note we do not allow children into the scan room at all. If you do need to
bring your children with you to the hospital, please ensure there is a responsible adult with you to look after them whilst you are having your scan. We want your scan experience to be as enjoyable as possible, but please remember the scan is an important test to check your baby’s development. The sonographer needs to concentrate and take detailed measurements of your baby which at this
stage can be moving a lot inside your tummy or curled up in an asleep position. Any excess conversation or noise can be distracting to you and to the sonographer.

COVID 19 UPDATE – Please note: Current guidance is that you should not bring children into the hospital at all unless absolutely necessary.

Q. Can I have a photo?
A. Yes, photos are available, either paper or film.

COVID 19 UPDATE – These are at no cost and 2 photos are routinely given at Dating and Anomaly scan.

Q Is my baby a boy or a girl?
A. Should the sex of the baby be seen during the normal course of the scan, and you have let the sonographer know that you would like to know, then it is permissible for the sonographer to tell you if your baby is a boy or a girl. It is not departmental policy to provide this information in any other forms, to include gender reveal requests.

Further Information
Please be aware our appointment slots are very precious. If you are unable to attend for your appointment, please telephone us as soon as possible on the number below to enable us to rebook you and allocate your original appointment to another patient.

Ultrasound Department Reception: 01908 995402
Prenatal Screening Coordinator: 01908 243887 or 01908 660033 and bleep 1169

All telephones are operational on Monday – Friday 9.00am – 5.00am
Useful website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/20-week-scan/